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The Average American Eats 160 Bowls Of Cereal Each Year

March 7th urges us to get our bowl spoon ready for National Cereal Day each year! Since the end of the 19th century, cereal has become America’s most popular breakfast food.

  • Bakers turn to cereal in their cake, cookie and bar recipes. The most popular one is Rice Crispy Bar Treats.
  • Ferdinand Schumacher, a German immigrant, began the cereal revolution in 1854 with a hand oats grinder in the back room of a small store in Akron, Ohio. His German Mills American Oatmeal Company was the nation’s first commercial oatmeal manufacturer.  In 1877, Schumacher adopted the Quaker symbol, the first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal.
  • Granula, the first breakfast cereal, was invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of Our Home on the Hillside, which was later replaced by the Jackson Sanatorium in Dansville, New York.  The cereal never became popular since it was inconvenient as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.
  • Dr. John Harvey Kellogg experimented with granola.  He boiled some wheat, rolled it into thin films, and baked the resulting flakes in the oven; he acquired a patent in 1891.  In 1895 he launched Cornflakes, which overnight captured a national market.
  • In 1906, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s brother, William K. Kellogg, after working for John, broke away, bought the corn flakes rights from his brother and set up the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.  His signature on every package became the company trademark and insurance of quality.
  • Charles W. Post introduced Grape-nuts in 1898 and soon followed with Post Toasties.
  • Because of Kellogg and Post, the city of Battle Creek, Michigan is nicknamed the “Cereal Capital of the World.”
  • The word cereal comes from Cerealia, the name of ancient Roman ceremonies that honored Ceres, the goddess of grain.
  • Astronauts from Apollo 11 ate cereal during their mission to the moon. The cereal with fruit was compressed into cubes because the lack of gravity made bowls of milk impossible.
  • The first cereal grains were domesticated by early primitive humans, about 8,000 years ago.
  • 50 percent of Americans start their days with cereal.
  • Americans consume 101 pounds or 160 bowls of cereal per person every year.
  • The cereal industry uses 816 million pounds of sugar per year.
  • Over 2.7 billion packages of cereal are sold every year.
  • Rice Krispies mascots Snap, Crackle and Pop briefly had a fourth brother named Pow in early 1950.
  • To create puffed cereals, makers use a pressure-cooking method called “gun-puffing,” a process that Quaker Oats developed at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Tony the Tiger Had Competition.  Close your eyes and picture your Frosted Flakes not with Tony the Tiger, but … Katy the Kangaroo? In 1952, Kellogg’s rolled out boxes of the cereal festooned with Tony, Katy, and two other potential mascots: Elmo the Elephant and Newt the Gnu. Tony was the most popular of the four, and the rest is history.
  • Wheaties Were a Happy Accident.  The wheat flakes came about when a clinician accidentally spilled wheat gruel on a hot stove, a mistake that changed the gruel into the eponymous General Mills cereal we know today. Bonus trivia: Michael Jordan is the athlete who’s been on Wheaties boxes the most, with a whopping 18 appearances.
  • Cheerios Used to Be ‘Cheerioats’.  One of America’s most ubiquitous breakfast cereals first appeared on grocery shelves in 1941 not as Cheerios but as “Cheerioats.” General Mills aimed to highlight the cereal’s main ingredient (oats) at a time when most competitors were still using corn. But that tactic didn’t fly with rival Quaker Oats, which objected to the use of the term “oats” in the new cereal’s name. General Mills backed down and switched to “Cheerios” instead.
  • Froot Loops Are All One Flavor.   Red, green, blue, purple — all those fruity O’s are supposed to represent different fruit flavors, right? That’s a negative. Kellogg’s itself has confirmed that the colors represent only a single sugary “froot” flavor.
  • Grape-Nuts Sponsored an Antarctic Expedition.  Post’s Grape-Nuts was among the sponsors that helped finance Richard E. Byrd’s second expedition to Antarctica in 1933, even putting maps of the journey on the backs of its cereal boxes. Grape-Nuts’ adventuring continued in 1953: The cereal helped energize Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay when they became the first climbers to summit Mount Everest.
  • Corn Flakes Offered the First Cereal ‘Prize’.  You probably have fond childhood memories of digging some sort of trinket out of your favorite cereal. It turns out the first-ever cereal prize came from boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in 1909. It was a book called “Kellogg’s Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures,” and buyers actually had to send away to get it. Kellogg’s continued to give away the same book for 23 years.
  • Advertisement of cereals started targeting children after the Second World War.
  • One of the predecessors of breakfast cereal was popcorn which American colonists used to eat with cream and sugar.
  • The first company to have and advertisement on the Times Square billboard in New York was Kellogg’s.
  • 5,000+ – Number of breakfast cereals sold in the U.S.


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